05/19/2012 7:45PM

Preakness 2012: Smith, Bodemeister fall short again

Debra A. Roma
"I really don't know what I have to do to beat him," said Mike Smith, who ran second aboard Bodemeister to I'll Have Another in the Preakness.

BALTIMORE – Mike Smith dismounted from Bodemeister, and it was hard to tell if he was grinning or grimacing. Maybe it was both. Smith and Bodemeister had just been beaten on the wire in the 137th Preakness by I’ll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez, and Smith seemed in awe of the drama that had just occurred.

“I really don’t know what I have to do to beat him,” said Smith. “Maybe they’ll give that horse his due now. He’s a good horse. He’s a really good horse.”

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Replay, chart, complete postrace coverage]

Smith scarcely could have written a better opening script for the way the Preakness unfolded Saturday at Pimlico, where I’ll Have Another kept alive his hopes for the first Triple Crown in 34 years by reeling in Bodemeister in the final sixteenth-mile to prevail by a neck. Bodemeister made the lead into the first turn with relative ease while going at a more relaxed pace than he had set two Saturdays beforehand in the Kentucky Derby. Going in fractions of 23.79, 47.68, and 1:11.72, he had nothing but an open lead and clear sailing when he turned into the homestretch.

But just like in the Derby, Bodemeister began getting leg-weary leaving the furlong pole, where he had a three-length lead and only one horse with a realistic chance of catching him. At the same time, that one horse – I’ll Have Another – was hitting overdrive, and as the wire approached, the crowd was in full throat, with some rooting for Bodemeister to please hold on and others exhorting I’ll Have Another to please get past him.

“We knew the other horse wasn’t stopping,” said J. Paul Reddam, owner of I’ll Have Another. “He ran a huge, gigantic race … But we knew the stretch here was very long. It was a very thrilling race.”

“It was a great race,” said Smith. “I just wish we could have gotten there, but I really don’t know what [Bodemeister] could’ve done. He laid it all out there for me again today.”

The narrow defeat denied Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a sixth Preakness victory. Jill Baffert, his wife, was among the first to reach out to congratulate Paul Reddam, owner of I’ll Have Another, doing so in the paddock runway leading to the racetrack where chaos, as usual, reigned in the Preakness aftermath. Bob Baffert was equally magnanimous in defeat.

“It’s one of those things where it’s good for the sport,” he said. “It’s good for the Belmont.

“I felt really good about where [Bodemeister] was. He looked like he was traveling nicely down the backside, and coming to the three-eighths pole, [Smith] just sat on him. The fractions were more reasonable today, so turning for home I really thought he was going to do it. He just got a little late there at the end. The winner’s a good horse. It was a good horse race. I really can’t complain. We didn’t win it, but my horse ran his race. … I’m proud that as a trainer my horse showed up and ran his race. He just got beat.”

The terrific rivalry that has developed between Bodemeister and I’ll Have Another most likely will have to wait for another day, since Baffert seems willing to let Dullahan or Union Rags be the main challengers in attempting to thwart I’ll Have Another in his Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes on June 9. Regardless of what happens in New York, nothing can diminish the thrills I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister gave racing fans in the first two legs of the 2012 Triple Crown.

At the post-race media conference Saturday, Gutierrez was only talking about what happened in the Preakness, but he might as well have been summarizing both races. “Bodemeister ran a huge race,” he said. “But my horse has a huge kick in the end.”

Sean Walker More than 1 year ago
Bodemeister has no 2yo foundation, and has basically been playing catch up all year. All things considered, it's a wonder he's still able to compete at such a high level. With all due respect to I'll have another, and he is a fine horse indeed. It's not his fault that Bodemeister didn't run as a 2yo, and that doesn't in any way deminish what he has accomplished so far. However, once Bodemeister has a chance to catch his breath and figure things out a little, that should make a world of difference, and maybe, just maybe he'll wind up winning one or two of these tight ones.
paul More than 1 year ago
You're probably right about that although, even with a two year old foundation, I don't think it cost him the Derby. The suicidal fractions were the main culprit in that race. The Preakness was another story and his inexperience probably cost him the race. It's going to be an interesting Belmont with Bodemeister out of the picture. I'll Have Another has good early speed and can run on or close to the pace. Depending on the field, if no one goes out for the early lead, the Derby and Preakness winner may find himself on an uncontested lead and wire the Belmont. We'll see.
Melody Moncada Stasiak More than 1 year ago
Sorry to hear that Bodemeister is not going to race. He has nothing to put his head down He ran a very very good race for the Derby and the Preakness and hope to see him run again soon. Best wishes to Baffert he has a good horse and hope to see his other horses run in the Belmont. Good Luck Mr. Baffert and family.
STEVE More than 1 year ago
These two horses are head and shoulders above this crop. If they stay sound and healthy, this years BC Classic @ Santa Anita is gonna be off the hook!
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
They'll be running for second money behind Successful Dan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does Paul Reddam have a favorite "I'll Have Another" cookie ?
Lucifer More than 1 year ago
I'm a BELIEVER!!!!
john bernath More than 1 year ago
Bode will wait for 1 1/8 mile Haskell where he'll be 3/5....no one will go near him in that race and anyone else will only enter for 2nd place money
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Union Rags will show up and will be a great bet at 3-1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You are right and I would take 3-5, more like 6 horse race and 1-9.
julien richards More than 1 year ago
Amazing race, the best horse won. go team I'll Have Another!! Triple crown time baby!!
John Burton More than 1 year ago
The magnanimity, graciousness, and class that Bob and Jill Baffert and Mike Smith displayed and offered to the Reddam Team after just experiencing a heart-breaking loss speaks volumes for them personally and for the sport generally. Sadly other sports often fail to display such positive character traits in the face of such a crushing defeat. We should all be thankful to the Bafferts and Smith for the goodwill and best wishes they have extended to the Reddam Team as they prepare I'LL HAVE ANOTHER for the Belmont Stakes and a shot at GLORY!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
Great post John
Charles More than 1 year ago
My last observation: the reason that Bodemeister looked so overwhelming in the Arkansaw derby was, he was only up against good horses....not superstars....ala seattleslew...affirm....secretariat...then progressed up to potential superstars in the likes I'll have another....dullahan ?
Charles More than 1 year ago
The best horse won the derby/preakness.....i do believe that theres a possibility we will have a triple crown winner.......the only obsticle is dullahan ?
Mike Austin More than 1 year ago
Dulahan will need improve 2 lenghts to get to this monster Iha looks like a triple crown all the way as of now